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BALLADS 
OF BATTLE 



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LIBRARY 

UNIVERSITY OF 
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BALLADS OF BATTLE 




LA CROIX ROUGE 



A^atH I see 

Him hanged on a tree. 

And crucified afresh ! 



BALLADS OF 
BATTLE 

BY LANCE-CORPORAL JOSEPH LEE 

IST/4TH BATTALION BLACK WATCH 
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY THE AUTHOR 



LONDON 

JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET, W. 

r9i6 



AU rights resetted. 



WILLIAM BKBNDON AND SON, LIMITKD, PKINTBK!> 
PLTMOUTH, BNCLAND 



TO 

MY COMRADES 
IN ARMS 



CONTENTS 



Proem ..... 

The Half-hour's Furlough . 

Macfarlane's Dug-out 

Freimdun Dhu : The Black Watch 

My Rifle : Some Maxims of Sergeant J 

Callary 
The Dead Man 
The Penitent . 
The Bullet 
The Green Grass 
Stand-to ! . 

At the Dawn: A Drama of 
The Drum 
Soldier, Soldier 
" I Canna See the Sergeant ' 

" When We Remembered 

The Home-Coming 

The Mirror 

The Bayonet ... 

" Stay-at-Home Hearts are Best " — Not 

'Alf .... 

Invocation : Night in the Trenches 
La Croix Rouge: A Wayside Calvary in 

Flanders .... 
" When the Armada Sailed from Spain " 
The Billet 



PAGE 

X 

I 

5 
II 

12 

i6 
i8 

21 
22 
25 

the Trenches 26 
33 
35 
38 
40 

44 

46 
48 

50 
53 

54 
57 
59 



CONTENTS 


vii 


PACK 

Nocturnals: Tommy's Night Thoughts in 


THE Trenches 


. 66 


The Combat . 






69 


The Mouth-Organ 






72 


The Mother 






77 


Tommy and Fritz 






78 


The Broken Heart 




. 


81 


Big Guns 




. 


82 


Piou-Piou 
Marching 






84 

86 


Pick and Spade 






88 


Sheath not the Sword 




91 


Carrying-Party 




93 


Song of True Lovers 




95 


1815-1915: One Hundred 


Years Ago To- 




DAY 




97 


Requiem 






lOI 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



La Croix Rouge 



Nbuve 



Farm 



Corporal, 69TH Pjunjabis 
Macfarlanb in his Dug-out . 
Sergeant J. Callary 
Dawn in the Trenches after 

Chapelle 
HiRA Singh 

"By Black Hearths in the Broken 
Broken Trees at Ericht Redoubt 
Typical Barn Billet 
Corporal, Gurkha Regiment . 
The Old French Farm 
Interior of the Barn . 
A Ghost Story at the Front 
Subidar Major Jocundar Singh, 69TH Pun 

jabis .... 
Piou-Piou .... 
Hollow Tree Bivouac . 
"Somewhere in France" 



Frontispiece 
rxCK 
ix 



7 

13 

27 
30 
41 
43 
47 
5* 
S8 
61 

65 

83 

85 

87 

102 




CORPORAL, 69TH PUNJABIS 



/ 'oyrit these songs in a dead man's book ; 
I stole the strain from a dead man's look ; 
And if much of death there muy seem, to be 
' Tis because the dead are so dear to tne. 



THE HALF-HOUR'S 
FURLOUGH 

I THOUGHT that a man went home last 
night 
From the trench where the tired men 
lie, 
And walked through the streets of his own 
old town — 
And I thought that the man was L 

And I walked through the gates of that 
good old town 

Which circles below the hill, 
And laves its feet in the river fair 

That floweth so full and still. 

Gladly and gladly into my heart 
Came the old street sounds and sights. 

And pleasanter far than the Pleiades 
Was the gleam of the old street lights. 



2 BALLADS OF BATTLE 

And as I came by St. Mary's Tower, 
The old, solemn bell struck ten, 

And back to me echoed the memory 
Of my boyhood days again : 

Musing I turned me East about 
To the haunt of my fellow-men. 

There were some that walked, and some 
that talked, 
Beneath the old Arcade, 
And for comfort I elbowed among the 
throng 
And hearkened to what they said. 

Some were that talked, and some that 
walked 

By one, by two, by three ; 
And some there were who spake my name 

As though they lov^d me. 

And some who said, " Might he but retiun 
When this weary war is spent ! " 

And it moved me much that their thought 
was such. 
And I turned me well content. 



THE HALF-HOUR'S FURLOUGH 3 

I passed me along each familiar vray, 
And paused at each friendly door, 

And thought of the things that had 
chanced within 
In the kindly days of yore. 

Till I came to the place of my long, long 
love, 
Where she lay with her head on her 
arm ; 
And she sighed a prayer that the dear 
Lord should 
Shield my body from all harm. 

Ae kiss I left on her snow-white brow, 

And ane on her raven hair, 
And ane, the last, on her ruby lips, 

Syne forth again I fare. 

And I came to the home that will aye be 
home. 
And brightly the fires did burn. 
And at hearth, and in hearts, was a place 
for me 
'Gainst the day that I should return. 



4 BALLADS OF BATTLE 

Then I came to the glade where my mother 
was laid, 
'Neath the cypress and the yew : 
And she stood abune, and she said, " My 
son, 
I am glad that your heart was true." 

And I passed me over both hill and down, 
By each well-remembered path, 

While the blessed dawn, like the love o' 
God, 
Stole over the sleeping Strath. 

And from a thorn came the pipe of a 
thrush, 

Like the first faint pipes of Peace : 
It slid with healing into my heart. 

And my sorrowing found surcease. 

4i * * * * 

Then I awoke to the sound of guns. 

And in my ears was the cry : 
" The Second Relief will stand to arms ! " 

And I rose — for that man was L 



MACFARLANE'S DUG-OUT 

" This is the house that Mac built." 

Since the breed that were our forebears 

first crouched within a cave, 
And found their food and fought their foe 

with arrow and with stave, 
And the things that really mattered unto 

men were four, or three : 
Shelter, and sustenance ; a maid ; the 

simple right to be ; 
And Fear stalked through the forest and 

slid adown the glade — 
There's been nothing like the dug-out 

that Macfarlane made ! 

When Mac first designed his dug-out, 
and commenced his claim to peg, 

He thought of something spacious in 
which one might stretch a leg, 

5 



6 BALLADS OF BATTLE 

Might lie out at one's leisure, and sit up 

at one's ease, 
And not be butted in the back by t'other 

fellow's knees ; 
Of such a goodly fashion were the plans 

the builder laid, 
And even so the dug-out that Macfarlane 

made. 

He shored it up with timber, and he 

roofed it in with tin 
Tom from the battered boxes that they 

bring the biscuits in — 
(He even used the biscuits, but he begs I 

should not state 
The number that he took for tiles, the 

number that he ate !) — 
He shaped it, and secured it to withstand 

the tempest's shocks — 
(I know he stopped one crevice with the 

latest gift of socks !) — 
He trimmed it with his trenching-tool, 

and slapped it with his spade — 
A marvel was the dug-out that Macfarlane 

made. 



8 BALLADS OF BATTLE 

He lined the walls with sand-bags, and he 

laid the floor with wood, 
And when his eye beheld it, he beheld it 

very good ; 
A broken bayonet in a chink to hold the 

candle-light ; 
A waterproof before the door to keep all 

weather-tight ; 
A little shelf for bully, butter, bread, and 

marmalade — 
Then finished was the dug-out that Mac- 

farlane made. 

Except the Lord do build the house there 

is no good or gain ; 
Except the Lord keeps ward with us the 

watchman wakes in vain : 
So when we'd passed the threshold, and 

partaken of Mac's tea, 
And chalked upon the lintel, " At th« 

Back o' Bennachie," 
Perchance a prayer soared skyward, 

although no word was said — 
At least, God blessed the dug-out that 

Macfarlane made ! 



MACFARLANE'S DUG-OUT 9 

For when the night was dark with dread, 

and the day was red with death, 
And the whimper of the speeding steel 

passed Hke a shuddering breath, 
And the air was thick with winged war, 

riven shard, and shrieking shell. 
And all the earth did spit and spume like 

the cauldron hot of Hell : 
When the heart of man might falter, and 

his soul be sore afraid — 
We just dived into the dug-out that Mac- 

farlane made !* 

Deep is the sleep I've had therein, as free 

from sense of harm, 
As when my curly head was laid in the 

crook of my mother's arm ; 
My old great-coat for coverlet, curtain, 

and counterpane. 
While patter, patter on the roof, came the 

shrapnel lead like rain ; 

• It may interest the reader to know that these 
lines are being written during a very considerable 
bombardment, in which one misses the friendly 
proximity of just such a dug-out as Alacfar- 
laue's. 



10 BALLADS OF BATTLE 

And when a huge " Jack Johnson " made 

us a sudden raid, 
I was dug out from the dug-out that 

Macfarlane made ! 

If in the unseen scheme of things, as well 

may be, it chance 
That I bequeath my body to the soil of 

sunny France, 
I will not cavil though they leave me 

sleeping where I fell, 
With just a Httle wooden cross my lowly 

tale to tell : 
I do not ask for sepulture beneath some 

cypress shade — 
Just a six by two feet " dug-out " by 

Macfarlane made. 

Postscript. — In the trenches, as will be readily 
understood, one has no continual abiding place. 
Consequently the dug-out of the picture is not the 
dug-out of the poem, and when last I looked in 
upon Macfarlane, he was swinging contentedly in a 
hammock of his own construction. It unfortunately 
falls to me to add a postscript of sadder import. 
Since the Advance of 25th September, my comrade 
has been counted among the missing. 



FREIMDUN DHU: 
THE BLACK WATCH 

Betwixt 1 715 and 1745 several independent com- 
panies were raised to secure the pacification of the 
Highlands. From the dark character of the tartans 
worn by most of the composing clans the companies 
became known as the Freimdun Dhu, or Black 
Watch, in contradistinction to the Leidman Diarag, 
or Red Soldiers. After their embodiment into a 
regiment of the line, no clan having a supreme 
claim to impress its tartan upon the whole, and the 
Colonel, Lord Crawford, being a Lowlander, the 
peculiarly dark pattern still worn was devised. 

Dark is thy tartan, Freimdun Dhu ; 
Black and green, and green and blue : 

Now in it I see thread of red — 

The blood our Highland host has shed. 



II 



MY RIFLE 

SOME MAXIMS OF SERGEANT J. CALLARY 

To the humour, and the good humour, of the 
genial sergeant I owe it that the period of my early 
drilling, which might thinkably have been a time of 
deadly dullness, afforded me much entertainment, 
as well as not a little valuable instruction. The 
sergeant was always at his best in dilating upon the 
virtues of the rifle, and the necessity for treating it 
with respect. 

I'm the Soldier's surest friend : 
I will neither break nor bend. 

Straight and sterling, tried and true ; 
You keep me and I'll keep you. 

Bolt and barrel, butt and band ; 
Caress me with a careful hand. 

Stock and swivel, sling and sight ; 
Rub me down, and keep me right. 

Striker, trigger, cocking-piece ; 
Give 'em all some elbow-grease. 

12 




SERGEANT J. CALLARY 



14 BALLADS OF BATTLE 

Clean me clean, and oil me well ; 
I'll kill your man and never tell. 

Leave me dirty, oil me ill ; 
You're the chap I'm going to kill. 

Leave me lying all awry ; 
You're the feller's going to die. 

Daily do but pull me through ; 
I will do the same for you. 

Only use a " two by four " — 
Nothing less, and nothing more. 

" Pull-through " rag will do the trick ; 
A shirt or sock is going to stick ! 

And keep your bottle full of ile — 
Remember the Virgins' parabile ! 

Handle me with care, I beg, 

I'm not so stout as old Mons Meg ! 

Do not pitch me on the ground — 

To break me, a hammer can be found ! 



MY RIFLE 15 

The soldier doesn't clean his rifle 
Has 'listed with intent to trifle. 

The chap who doesn't clean his gun 
Is sorriest soldier 'neath the sun. 

I'm the Soldier's surest friend : 
I will neither break nor bend. 

Straight and steriing, tried and true — 
You keep me and I'll keep you. 



THE DEAD MAN 

He lay unasking of our aid, 
His grim face questioning the sky. 

While we stood by with idle spade, 
And gazed on him with curious eye. 

Upon one hand a little ring ; 

A little earth clutched in one hand. 
As he would bear some kindly thing 

Unto that new and unknown land. 

This unnamed heap of human dust, 
Buoyant so late with human breath. 

And now majestic and august 
With th' vast indifference of death ! 

Within that many-mansioned brain, 
A-through its corridors and cells, 

Do no ghosts flit ? Comes ne'er again 
Old Memory with her mystic spells ? 



i6 



THE DEAD MAN 17 

Do images of wife or child 

Round these unseeing eyes still hover ? 
Still heart, comes there no stirring wild. 

No cry for her might be thy lover ? 

Nay, silence alone doth clothe thy clay. 
Thy mien is big with only mystery ; 

No hieroglyphics here to say 
Where was thy home, and what thy 
history. 

A chilly wind stirs in the grass ; 

There comes the night- jar's shrilling cry ; 
I see no recognition pass 

Into thy once beholding eye. 

Comes the grim converse of a gun, 
But brings thee neither fear nor frown ; 

Thou for thyself a Peace hast won, 
The bundle of thy life laid down. 

Into its cell thy clay we thrust, 
And turn, and find we have no tears : 

Deep be thy sleep, O once dear dust, 
Through the intolerable years ! 



THE PENITENT 

As I lay in the trenches at Noove Chapelle, 
Where the big guns barked Hke the 

Hounds o' Hell, 
Sez I to mysel', sez I to mysel' : — 

Billy, me boy, here's the end o' you — 
But if, by good luck, ye should chance to 

slip thro', 
Ye'll bid all ye'r evil companions adieu ; 
Keep the Lord's ten Commands — and 

Lord Kitchener's two — 
Sez I to mysel' — at Noove Chapelle. 

No more women, and no more wine. 
No more hedgin' to get down the line. 
No more hoggin' around like a swine. 
After Noove Chapelle — sez I to mysel' . 



i8 



THE PENITENT 19 

But only the good God in Heaven knows 
The wayward way that a soldier goes, 
And He must ha' left me to walk by my- 
scl'— 

For three times I've fell, since Noove 
Chapelle. 

Once at Bethune and twice at Estaires, 
The divil gripped hould o' me unawares — 
Yet often and often I've prayed me 
prayers, 
Since I prayed by mysel', at Noove 
Chapelle. 

Well, the Lord above, who fashioned the 

French, 
May bethink how bewitchin' is wine and a 

wench 
To a chap that's been tied for three weeks 
to a trench. 
Around Noove Chapelle — that black 
border o' Hell. 



20 BALLADS OF BATTLE 

And me throat was dry and the night was 

damp, 
And the rum was raw — and red was the 

lamp ! — 
And — Billy, me boy, ye'r a bit o' a scamp, 
That's the truth to tell — tho' I sez it 
mysel'. 

What's worritin' me isn't fear that they'll 

miss 
Me out o' the ranks in the realms o' bhss ; 
It ain't hope o' Heaven, nor horror o' Hell, 
But just breakin' the promise, 'twixt God 

and mysel'. 
Made at Noove Chapelle. 

Well, there's always a way that is open to 
men 

When they gets the knock-out — that's get 
up again ; 

And, sure now, ould Satan ain't yet 
counted ten ! 

I'm game for another good bout wi' my- 
sel'— 
As at Noove Chapelle. 



THE BULLET 

Every bullet has its billet ; 

Many bullets more than one : 
God ! Perhaps I killed a mother 

When I killed a mother's son. 



21 



THE GREEN GRASS 

The dead spake together last night, 
And one to the other said : 

" Why are we dead ?" 

They turned them face to face about 
In the place where they were laid : 
" Why are we dead ? " 

" This is the sweet, sweet month o' May, 
And the grass is green o'erhead — 
Why are we dead ? 

" The grass grows green on the long, long 
tracks 
That I shall never tread — 
Why are we dead ? 

" The lamp shines Hke the glow-worm 
spark. 
From the bield where I was bred — 
Why am I dead ? " 



THE GREEN GRASS 23 

The other spake : " I've wife and weans. 
Yet I lie in this waesome bed — 
Why am I dead ? 

" O, I hae wife and weans at hame, 

And they clamour loud for bread — 
Why am I dead ? " 

Quoth the first : "I have a sweet, sweet 
heart. 
And this night we should hae wed — 
Why am I dead ? 

** And I can see another man 
Will mate her in my stead, 
Now I am dead." 

They turned them back to back about 
In the grave where they were laid : — 
" Why are we dead ? " 

** I mind o' a field, a foughten field, 

Where the bluid ran routh and red — 
Now I am dead." 
c 



24 BALLADS OF BATTLE 

" I mind o' a field, a stricken field, 
And a waeful wound that bled — 
Now I am dead." 

They turned them on their backs again, 
As when their souls had sped, 
And nothing further said. 



The dead spake together last night. 
And each to the other said, 
" Why are we dead ? " 



STAND-TO I 

I'd just crawled into me dug-out, 
And pulled me coat over me 'ead, 

When the Corpor-al 

He begins to bawl, 
And these were the words he said : 

" Stand-to 

Show a leg ! — Get a move on. You ! — 

Ye's can't lie and snore, 

Till the end o' the war — 
Stand-to !— Stand-to ! STAND-TO ! " 

I was just a-dreamin' of 'Ome Sweet 'Ome, 
A-top of a fewer bed ; 

And Sister Nell 

Had looked in to tell 
Of tea, and of toasted bread — 

" Stand-to ! "— 
Of a sudden a change of view — 

" Come on — you there — 

Take a sniff o' fresh air — 
Stand-to I— Stand-to !• STAND-TO ! " 
25 



AT THE DAWN 

A Drama of the Jrenches. 

Orion raised his red right hand 
As marshaUing the starry host : 

Below I took my lonely stand, 
Somewhere anigh the Lonely Post. 

Orion wheels adown the sky | 
A broken moon to Westward wends, 

While I cast up a wistful eye, 
Counting the stars among my friends ; 

Counting each burning bead that hung 

Suspend in that great rosary 
Which makes, unto the Might that flung, 

An Orison continually. 

And then the broken moon went out, 
And one by one went out the stars. 

And, welcome as a friendly shout, 
Dawn broke from out her prison bars. 
26 



28 BALLADS OF BATTLE 

But such a dawn as might have been 

Prelude to an horrific play ; 
As if some Scientist had foreseen 

The diverse drama of the day. 

A dawn of streaks and streams of red, 
Like swelling gouts of spilten blood ; 

Blood-red the sun that raised its head 
Above the broken, blasted wood : 

As Lazarus risen from the dead, 
Silent each dust-clad sentry stood. 

And with the dawn there came a gun. 
And with the gun there came a cry ; 

Along the trench it seemed to run 
That sound of strong men when they 
die. 

Then one came running in all haste. 
With, " Water, water, for Christ's 
sake ! " 

I hitched the bottle from my waist 
And marvelled how his hand did shake. 



AT THE DAWN 29 

I saw the shaking of his hand, 

Which dripped with blood was not his 
own : 
I saw each drop merge with the sand, 

Like seed some Evil One had sown. 

Then he was gone, and I stood there, 
Still gazing on the reddened ground, 

And musing whether wheat or tare 
From such a sowing would be found. 

And there was silence for a space, 
Save that a lark sang on the wing ; 

Then, crouching low, with grim-set 
face, 
Up the long trench came Hira Singh. 

He paused by me, and with a blow 
He struck the stopper in his flask, 

And told me what I sought to know 
Before my tongue had time to ask. 




He told me what I sought to know 
Before my tongue had time to ask. 

—"At the Dawn." 



AT THE DAWN 31 

" Finished ! "he said, and closed his eyes, 
As he had closed those of the dead ; 

And twice he snored, as one who tries 
To breathe through blood : ' ' Finished ! ' ' 
he said. 

A soldier's cross stood in the com, 
A simple cross as one might see : 

Bethought me of that other mom 
That broke o'er barren Calvary. 

And of the word the Christ had cried 
When His long agony was done : 

The " It is finished ! " when He died 
And His redeeming work begun. 

And of the kings have warred and reigned. 
Since Jesu died, the King of Men, 

And of the blood that earth hath stained, 
And of the streams must flow again. 

And in the soldier's sacrifice, 
I saw the Christ's in its degree : 

A sinful life — let it suffice, 

He laid it down for you and me. 



32 BALLADS OF BATTLE 

For one a little cross of deal, 

For One the Age-Enduring Tree ; 
Yet each frail, faltering flesh did feel 
In hands and feet the wounding steel ; 
Each died that mankind might be free. 
Each gave a life for you and me. 



THE DRUM 

" Come to me and I will give you flesh." 
Old Pibrochadh. 

Come ! 

Says the drum ; 

Though graves be hollow. 

Yet follow, follow : 
Come ! 
Says the drum. 

Life ! 

Shrills the fife, 

Is in strife — 

Leave love and wife : 

Come ! 

Says the drum. 

Ripe! 

Screams the pipe, 

Is the field — 

Swords and not sickles wield : 
Come ! 

Says the drum. 
33 



34 BALLADS OF BATTLE 

The drum 

Says, Come ! 

Though graves be hollow, 
Yet follow, follow : 

Come ! 

Says the drum. 



SOLDIER, SOLDIER 

Wastrel, wastrel, standing in the street, 
Billy-cock upon your head ; boots that 
show your feet. 

Rookie, rookie, not too broad of chest. 
But game to do your bloomin' bit with 
the bloomin' best. 

Rookie, rookie, growUng at the grub ; 
Loth to wash behind the ears when you 
take your tub. 

Rookie, rookie, licking into shape — 
Thirty-six inch roimd the buff showing by 
the tape. 

Rookie, rookie, boots and buttons clean ; 
Mustachios waxing stronger ; military 
mien. 

Rookie, rookie, drilling in the square, 
Britain's ancient glory in your martial air. 
35 



36 BALLADS OF BATTLE 

Rookie, rookie, swagger-stick to twirl ; 
Waving hands to serving maids ; walking 
out the girl. 

Soldier, soldier, ordered to the front. 
Marching forward eager-eyed, keen to bear 
the brunt. 

Soldier, soldier, bidding her good-bye — 
" When I come back I'll marry you, so, 
darling, don't you cry ! " 

Soldier, soldier, sailing in the ships. 
Cigarettes and curious oaths betwixt your 
boyish lips. 

Soldier, soldier, standing in the trench ; 
Wading through the mud and mire, 
stifling in the stench. 

Soldier, soldier, 'mid the din and dirt. 
More than monastic tortures moving in 
your shirt. 

Soldier, soldier, facing shot and shell ; 
Jesting as you gaze within the open Gate 
of Hell. 



SOLDIER, SOLDIER 37 

Soldier, soldier, charging on the foe, 
With your comrade's dying cry to urge 
you as you go. 

Soldier, soldier, stilly lying dead, 
With a dum-dum bullet through your 
dunder head. 

Soldier, soldier, with a smile of grace, 
Breaking through the grime and grit on 
your blood-swept face. 

Soldier, soldier, sound will be your sleep. 
You will never waken, though you hear 
her weep. 

Soldier, soldier 

How I love you ! 



*'I CANNA SEE THE 
SERGEANT " 

Those readers who have recollection of the drilling 
days of the 4th Battalion Black Watch may remem- 
ber to have heard some words — often, fortunately, 
not entirely intelligible — which we rendered lustily as 
a marching song, to the Gaelic melody, " Horo My 
Nut-Brown Maiden." In these strenuous and sad 
times the phrase, " I Canna See the Sergeant," 
which formed the owre-turn o' the sang, has often 
assumed a new and deeper significance. 

I CANNA see the sergeant, 
I canna see the sergeant, 
I canna — see the — sergeant,* 

He's owre far awa'. 
Bring the wee chap nearer, 
Bring the wee chap nearer, 
O bring the — wee chap — nearer — 

He's owre bloomin' sma'. 

We canna see the sergeant, 
The five foot five inch sergeant, 
• To be sung in staccato fashion. 
38 



" I CANNA SEE THE SERGEANT " 39 

We canna — see the — sergeant 

For smoke, and shell, and a' — 
Now we can see him clearer, 
Now we can see him nearer — 
Upon the topmost parapet 
He's foremost o' us a' ! 

We canna see the sergeant, 

The sma', stout-hearted sergeant, 

We canna — see the — sergeant. 

He's dead and gone awa'. 
Bring the wee chap nearer. 
Bring the wee chap nearer, 
O, he has grown the dearer 

Now that he's far awa* ! 



*'WHEN WE 
REMEMBERED " 

Think not, far friends, that we forget, 
In these red realms of wrack and rue, 

The white cHffs round our England set, 
The Channel waters white and blue. 

Think not, that on this smiling plain. 
Where, snake-like coiled, the trenches 
lie, 

In dreams we do not see again 
Our bleak hills buttressing the sky. 

Think not, within the grim, grey lines. 
Haunted by gaunt and grimy men. 

Comes no cool chaunting of the pines 
That guard one well-remembered glen. 

By black hearths in the broken farm. 

Bethink yc we remember not 
The lire-glow, welcoming and warm. 
Which lights the path to one loved 

cot?— 
Bethink ye we remember not ? 
40 




I 



'^ 



42 BALLADS OF BATTLE 

Here, where the ruined chapels raise 
Their blackened beams against the blue, 

Comes echo of the hymn of praise 
Sung by our home-folk, leal and true. 

Here, by the stile, where lovers stood, 
And strong hands laboured with the 
^ sheaves. 

Where are dear drops of human blood 
As crimson as the poppy leaves ; 

Here, where the ripened harvests rot — 
Where rot an hundred ungraved men, 

Bethink ye we remember not 
The Uttle Croft beneath the Ben ? 

Bethink ye we have aught forgot ? 

Bethink ye we remember not ? 




BROKEN TREES AT ERICHT REDOUBT 



THE HOME-COMING 

When this blast is over-blown, 
And the beacon fires shall bum. 
And in the street 
Is the sound of feet — 
They also shall return. 

When the bells shall rock and ring. 
When the flags shall flutter free. 
And the choirs shall sing, 
" God save our King " — 
They shall be there to see. 

When the brazen bands shall play. 
And the silver trumpets blow, 
And the soldiers come 
To the tuck of drum — 
They shall be there also. 



44 



THE HOME-COMING 45 

When that which was lost is found ; 

When each shall have claimed his kin, 
Fear not they shall miss 
Mother's clasp, maiden's kiss — 

For no strange soil might hold them in. 

When Te Deums seek the skies, 
When the Organ shakes the Dome, 
A dead man shall stand 
At each live man's hand — 
For they also have come home. 



THE MIRROR 

To N. S., on the gift of a Metal Mirror received in 
the trenches. 

When in this burnished steel I trace 
My own begrimed and hair-grown face, 
And, as of old, still smile to see 
Some of the boy unquelled in me : 

I also vision a fair lawn, 
O'er which a placid sky is drawn. 
While the broad firth flows at our feet — 
For heaven itself a mirror meet : 

A rosy copse, a roseate sky. 
And we together, you and I, 
In the garden at the cool of e'en. 
Talking of dear dead things have been ; 

Turning our dearly-boughten store 
Of Memories, o'er and o'er and o'er — 
So fragrant that each well might be 
Rose petal from hfe's thorny tree — 
Till full hearts fountain into tears 
To vivify these long-dead years ! 
46 



THE MIRROR 



47 



When in this shining steel I trace 
My o\vn begrimed and hair-grown face ; 
A magic impress — I shall see 
The smile of him who sent it me ! 




TYPICAL BARN BILLET 



THE BAYONET 

The rifle bullet ranges far, 
The bursting shell seeks wide. 

The mortar and machine guns are 
Both trusty friends and tried ; 

But the swiftest weapon in the war 
Is the steel swings by my side. 

The rifle rings out sharp and clear, 

The " 75 " can speak. 
And viciously upon the ear 

Sound "swish-bang" and "pip-squeak," 
But the bayonet is the Silent Fear 

In this game of hide-and-seek. 

The bullet speeds with wail and sob, 

The shrapnel showers its hails. 
But the keen-edged bayonet point can 
probe 
Where the leaden pellet fails ; 
And the " white arm " finishes the job — 
And dead men tell no tales ! 
48 



THE BAYONET 49 

The mortar gun is full of ire 

When once ye do begin it, 
The facile mitrailleuse can fire 

Seven hundred rounds a minute, 
But " La Rosalie " will never tire 

When once her finger's in it. 

The blade upon the barrel clicks 

When the battle is begun, 
And often has the Captain's " Fix ! " 

Carried us out o' one ; 
Then thrust and parry — these the tricks 

By which the trench is won. 

With thrust and parry, limge and point, 
Point, parry, lunge, and thrust ; 

Our knees seem going at the joint. 
Our hearts beat fit to burst — 

And then — may Christ our souls aroint, — 
We stab at what seems accurst ! — Ugh ! 

The rifle bullet ranges far. 
The bursting shell seeks wide. 

The mortar and machine guns are 
Both trusty tools and tried ; 

But the surest weapon in the war 
Is the steel swings by my side ! 



*' STAY-AT-HOME HEARTS 
ARE BEST"— NOT 'ALF 

The men who stay at home at ease. 
And go to bed just when they please. 
Have lots o' baccy and o' beer, 
And yet — I'd rather be out here ! 

The chaps who stay at home and dine 
Have heaps of wictuals and o' wine, 
With walnuts — shelled — and all good 

cheer — 
It's better to be shelled out here ! 

(Swish — bang !) 

The men who stay at home at ease 
Need never try to wash their knees 
In dixie* lids — yet never fear, 
I'd rather far be dirty here ! 

* A mess tin — very literally. 
50 



"STAY-AT-HOME HEARTS" 51 

The chaps at home they earn good pay, 
And don clean linen every day, 
While my shirt runs — its wild career ! 
Yet — rather I'd be lousy here ! 

(Yes, even that !) 

The chaps who stay — the lucky dogs ! — 
Can stroll around in tailored togs. 
While my make-up is something queer — 
Yet — better be a scarecrow here ! 

The chaps who stay at home and play 
At tennis through a summer day, 
Need ne'er fall bleeding to the rear — 
And yet — I'd rather play out here ! 

Sweet-hearting ? — ah ! you lucky chaps 
Who go a-wooing — well, perhaps, 
Unless I get a nasty whack, 
I'll get a girl when I go back. 

Why, yes, who knows ? there still might be 
Some girl to love a bloke like me ; 
There's Dolly — would she drop a tear 
If I went under over here ? 



52 



BALLADS OF BATTLE 



The men who live at home at ease, 
May list— then 'LIST — just as they please, 
For me, by Christ ! my conscience clear, 
I think I'd rather die out here ! 

(Stretcher-bearers !) 




CORPORAL, GURKHA REGIMENT 



INVOCATION : NIGHT IN 
THE TRENCHES 

Creator of the stars 

Great and Little Bear — 
Have us in Thy care. 

Thou who set Orion, 

Watch and ward to keep — 
Guard a soldier's sleep. 

Hand that swung the Spheres, 
Strawed the Pleiades — 
Have pity upon these. 

Hand that sways the plough ; 

Will that stays the Pole- 
Sow thy good seed now, 

Guide an errant soul. 



S3 



LA CROIX ROUGE 

A Wayside Calvary in Flanders. 

Two thousand years since Christ was 
crucified ; 
Since thorn and nail did torment that 
frail flesh : 

Again I see 

Him hanged on a tree, 
And crucified afresh ! 

Once more that darkness over all the land; 
The graves — the graves are full — they 
give not up their dead : 
The bitter cup 
Is lifted up, 
The crown pierces His head. 

The scourging rod, the mocking reed are 
-His, 
The veritable Son of Man and God ; 
Through feet and hands 
The iron stands, 
The Cross is red with blood. 
54 



\ 



LA CROIX ROUGE 55 

Barabbas is released unto the World ; 
The thieves — the thieves are unrepentant 
both — 

With swords and staves 
A crowd of knaves 
Come forth with jest and oath. 

Again the brutal soldiery cast lots ; 
The earth is rent with wrath, and rack, 
and rue, 

Comes hke a sigh 
That lonely cry : 
" They know not what they do ! " 

Thou Kaiser, who hast crucified thy 
Christ ; 
Judas, Pilatus, Peter — three in one ! 
Who shall it be 
Shall say to thee : 
Servant, thy work well done ? 

For thirty pieces Judas sold his Lord, 
And Peter but denied his Master thrice ; 
And Pilate stands 
With washen hands — 
Princeling, what was thy price ? 



56 BALLADS OF BATTLE 

Better, O Caesar — Caiaphas, High Priest, 
With all thy servile Scribes and Phari- 
sees — 

Thou'dst ne'er been bom 
Than put to scorn 
One of the least of these ! 

Proud Kaiser, who has drowned the world 
in tears. 
And deluged all the earth with reddest 
rain — 

Christ's brow is torn 
With crown of thorn — 
Thine bears the brand of Cain ! 

O King in name, who might have been in 
deed. 
Who chose the darkness rather than the 
light : 

I see thee go 
Forth from thy foe — 
And it is night ! 



*^WHEN THE ARMADA 
SAILED FROM SPAIN" 

" God blew with His winds, and they were scat- 
tered." — Medal struck to commemorate defeat of 
the Armada. 

When the Armada sailed from Spain, 
And launched its might upon the main. 
Bold Drake put out from Plymouth 

Hoe, 
And God'sgreat wind began to blow — 

And it was scattered ; 
Well, what was then, brave boys, 
Will be again, brave, bully boys. 
Aye ! What was then will be again ! 

When Wellington with his brave few 
Met Buonaparte at Waterloo, 

The British bayonets drove Nap, back 
To St. Helena's lonely rack. 

Broken and battered ; 
Our steel's as true, brave boys, 
Our blood's as blue, brave, bully boys. 
And Britain trusts to me and you ! 
57 



THE BILLET 

A ROOF that hardly holds the rain ; 
Walls shaking to the hurricane ; 
Great doors upon their hinges creaking ; 
Great rats upon the rafters squeaking — 
A midden in the courtyard reeking — 
Yet oft I've sheltered, snug and warm, 
Within that friendly old French farm ! 

To trudge in from the soaking trench — 
The blasts that bite^the rains that drench — 
To loosen off your ponderous pack. 
To drop the harness from your back, 
Deliberate pull each muddy boot 
From each benumbed, frost-bitten foot ; 
To wrap your body in your blanket. 
To mutter o'er a " Lord be thankit ! " 
Sink out of sight below the straw. 
Then — Owre the hills and far awa' ! 
* ♦ * + ♦ 

Perchance to waken from your sleep. 
And hear the big guns growling deep, 
.> 59 



6o BALLADS OF BATTLE 

Turn on your side, but breathe a prayer 
For the beggars you have left up " there." 

Then in the mom to stretch your legs, 
And hear the hens cluck o'er their eggs ; 
And chanticleer's bestirring blare ; 
The whinnying of the Captain's mare ; 
Contented lowing of the kine. 
Complacent grunting of the swine ; 
Chirping of birds beneath the eaves, 
Whisper of winds among the leaves. 
And — sound that soul of man rejoices — 
. he pleasant hum of women's voices — 
With all the cheery dins that be 
In a farmyard community ; 
While sunlight bursting thro' the thatch 
Bums in the black bam, patch and patch. 

But now, your eyes and ears you ope — 
The pipes are skirhng, "Johnnie Cope " — * 

*■ There is something slightly sardonic in the 
fact that the old Jacobite rant, " Hey, Johnnie 
Cope, are ye waukin' yet ? " which was used for 
the berousing and belabouring of the Whigs, should 
now do duty as Reveille to a Highland regiment. 
So, at least, it seems to one at seven o'clock of a 
cold winter's morning ! 




05 *| 

U 
X 
H 

U. 
O 

oi 
O 

u 

H 



62 BALLADS OF BATTLE 

And you arise to toil and trouble, 
And certainly to " double ! double ! " — 
Of the day's drills, most grudged of all. 
That lagging hour called " physical ! " 

Breakfast, of tea, and bread, and ham, 
With just a colouring of jam ; 
Or, if you have the sous to pay, 
A feast of osw/s and cafe-au-lait. 

Comes ten o'clock and we fall in. 
With rifle cleaned, and shaven chin ; 
Once more we work the " manual " 

through. 
And then " drill in platoons " we do 
Till one, or maybe even two. 
At last " cook-house " the pipers play. 
And so we dine as best we may. 

And now a shout that never fails 

To fetch us forth, " Here come the 

mails ! "— 
While one rejoices, t'other rails 



THE BILLET 63 

Because he has received no letter — 
Next time the Fates may use him better ! 

Then comes an hour beneath a tree, 
With " Omar Khayyam " on your knee, 
While wanton winds, in idle sport, 
Bombard you after harmless sort 
With apple blossoms from the bough — 
Ah ! here is Paradise enow ! 

'Tis now that mystic hour of night 

When — parcels open — no respite 

Is given to cake, sweetmeat, sardine ; 

Our zest would turn a gourmet green 

With envy, could he only see 

The meal out here, that's yclept " tea." 

The night has come, and all are hearty, 

Being exempt from a " working-party " : 

And so we gather round the fire 

To chat, and presently conspire 

To pass an hour with song and story — 

The grave, the gay, ghostly or gory, — 



64 BALLADS OF BATTLE 

A tale, let's say, both weird and fierce. 
By Allan Poe or Ambrose Bierce,* 
Then Skerry — Peace be to his Shade !- 
May play us Gounod's " Serenade," 
And, gazing thro' the broken beams. 
Perchance we see the starry gleams. 



But " Lights-out ! " sounds ; " Good 

nights " are said, 
And so we bundle off to bed. 

Sweet dreams infest each drowsy head 
And kindly Ghosts that work no harm 
Flit round about that old French farm ! 

* The greatest compliment I ever received to my 
power as a story-teller was paid me by a comrade, 
who, on the morning after the recital of Bierce's 
" The Middle Toe of the Right Foot," presented me 
with a small model of a human foot, minus a toe, 
which he had executed in the wax of a candle ! 




A GHOST STORY AT THE FRONT 



A tale, let's say, both -weird and fierce, 
By Allan Poe or Ambrose Bierce. 

—"The Billet.' 



NOCTURNALS 

Tommy's Night Thoughts in the Trenches, 
I 

I WONDER are there stupid wars 
In any of them other stars ? — 

Kaisers and Kings, 

And mix o' things, 

And all this mess ? — 

Not 'alf, I guess, 
Not even in yon ruddy Mars. 

II 
As I stamp my feet to keep them hot, 

When a' the trench is still, 
O, I wad gi'e a hell o' a lot 
For the sight o' a Scottish hill, 
For the clasp o' a Scottish lassie's 

waist, 
And — weel — just to say a little taste 
O' a guid auld Scottish gill ! 

66 



NOCTURNALS 67 

III 

Lord of the Night, be near me now, 
Strength for my Heart, Shield for my 

Brow ; 
And when Thy white Light returns again — 
Lord of the Day, be with me then. 

IV 
7.55 A.M. 

A funny world — 

There's him. 

And me. 
Both thirstin', be it understood, 
To draw the other's bleedin' blood — 

And yet, 

I'd bet 

A bob — and win it — 

That at this minute, 

Both he, 

And me, 
Are thirstin' most — to draw our dixie Hd 

0' TEA ! 



68 BALLADS OF BATTLE 

V 
SUMMING UP ! 

When our wrath is expended, 
When the world war is ended, 
It seems hke to me 
That this old earth will be 
More broken than mended. 

VI 

BON VOYAGE ! 

The sky is the sea, 

And ships are the clouds. 
And dead sailor men 

Swing into the shrouds — 
Heigh-ho ! Some day 
I shall sail far away ! 



THE COMBAT 

" For I am fearfully and wonderfully made." 

I WITH my mouth must munch my food, 
Even as the monster in the wood, 
And yet, dear heart, my Hps to thine 
Have clung in ecstasies divine ! 

I feel my ribs like prison-bars. 
And still, I comprehend the stars ; 
Through the white mas'nry of my bones 
A sleepless spirit stalks and groans ! 

This pulsing heart is all afire 
With passion and with wild desire. 
And still, I turn dim yearning eyes 
Thrice daily to the unanswering skies, 

I have in me to burn and slay — 
And yet a little child will lay 
Its soft warm cheek upon my cheek, 
And I, as it, am mild and meek ! 
69 



70 BALLADS OF BATTLE 

The hunger of the wolf I have, 
And yet, I hunger most for love. 
And often have I wept to scan 
The misery of my brother-man. 

I hear, within the forest wild, 
A whispering : Thou art our child ! 
And yet, again I hear a call 
Within the vast Cathedral. 

Oft have I clasped thee in my arms. 
And loved thee for thy woman's charms ; 
Yet have I sought, and seemed to see 
And love, a woman's soul in thee ! 

The fleshly lust, the pride of life. 
The joyaunce in a selfish strife. 
The din of battle in my ear — 
And yet a still small voice I hear ! 

I would not do the thing I would, 

I shun the evil, seek the good ; 

Comes prompting from the past : You 

must ! 
And pulls me backward in the dust. 



THE COMBAT 71 

My hands are clawed to clutch and keep ; 
My eyes grow heavy unto sleep, 
I crouch beneath a poor roof -tree, 
I wake — and I am still with Thee. 

I know that when I come to die, 
My bones all strawed about shall lie ; 
The hand that fashioned shall annul 
This cunning sculpture of my skull. 

O Thou behind that outmost star, 
Have mercy if Thy plans we mar. 
For lo ! we know not what we are ! 

I with my mouth must munch my food 
Like uncouth creatures in the wood, 
Yet from my lips what prayers arise 
Alway to the unanswering skies ! 



THE MOUTH-ORGAN 

When drum and fife are silent, 
When the pipes are packed away, 
And the soldiers go 
Too near the foe 
For the bugle's noisy bray ; 
When our haversacks are heavy, 
And our packs like Christian's load. 
Then Jimmy Morgan* 
Plays his old mouth-organ, 
To cheer us on our road. 

" It's a long, long way to Tipper ary — " 

* Though for obvious reasons of rhyme I have 
here ventured to appropriate the classic name 
" Jimmy Morgan." nevertheless the best mouth- 
organist in D Company, if not in the battalion, is 
2203 Private William Brough. He informs me that 
his present instrument is something the worse for 
wear. 



72 



THE MOUTH-ORGAN yi 

When by the shrunken river 
RecHned the great god Pan, 

And to his needs, 

Cut down the reeds — 
And music first began ; 
Then all mankind did marvel 
At a melody so sweet ; 

But when Jimmy Morgan 

Plays his old mouth-organ, 
Even Pan takes second seat ! 

When Orpheus, of old time. 
Did strike his magic lute. 

He lorded it, 

As he thought fit. 
O'er boulder, bird, and brute ; 
And great trees were uprooted. 
And roo^marched, so to say, 

But when Jimmy Morgan 

Plays his old mouth-organ, 
You should see us march away. 



74 BALLADS OF BATTLE 

When the Piper Pied of HameHn, 
In the legend of renown, 
His pipe did play, 
He charmed away 
The children from the town : 
But behold our whole BattaUon — 
To the joy of wife and wench — 
Led by Jimmy Morgan, 
And his old mouth-organ, 
March forward to the trench. 

" Here we are, here we are, here we 
are again ! " 

0, an overture by Wagner 
Strikes sweetly on mine ear, 
And that noble three, 
Brahms, Bach, and Bee- 
thoven, I love to hear ; 
But when the rains are faUing, 
And when the roads are long, 
Give me Jimmy Morgan 
And his old mouth-organ 
To lead our little song. 

" A -roving, a-roving ; we'll gang 
nae mair a-roving ! " 



y 



THE MOUTH-ORGAN 75 

Sometimes he pipes us grave notes. 
Sometimes he pipes us gay ; 

Till broken feet 

Take up the beat 
Of quick-step or Strathspey : 
But he plays upon our heart-strings 
When he plays a Scottish tune — 

Hear Jimmy Morgan 

And his old mouth-organ 
At " The Banks 0' Bonnie Doon " ! 

He has a twist upon his mouth, 
A twinkle in his e'e ; 
A roguish air, 
A deil-ma-care, 
Like the Piper 0' Dundee : 
Faith ! we would dance thro' half o' 
France, 
And a' the trenches carry, 
If Jimmy Morgan 
On his old mouth-organ, 
Did but give us " Annie Laurie " ! 



76 BALLADS OF BATTLE 

And when the war is over — 
The war we mean to win — 
And Kaiser Bill 
Has had his pill, 
And we boys march thro' Berhn ; 
" Unter den Linden " going, 
We'll need no pipes to blow — 
Just Jimmy Morgan 
And his old mouth-organ. 
Leading us as we go ! 

— " Highland laddie, Highland 
laddie ; whar hae you been a' 
the day ?"* 

And when this life is ended, 
And Morgan gone aloft, 

He will not carp 

Tho' he get no harp, 
Nor trumpet sweet and soft ; 
But if there be a place for him 
In the AngeHc choir. 

Give Jimmy Morgan 

His old mouth-organ. 
And he'll play and never tire. 
• The Regimental March of the Black Watch. 



THE MOTHER 

" Mother o' mine ; O Mother o' mine." 

My mother rose from her grave last night, 

And bent above my bed, 
And laid a warm kiss on my lips, 

A cool hand on my head ; 
And, " Come to me, and come to me, 

My bonnie boy," she said. 

Hf * * * * 

And when they found him at the dawn. 

His brow with blood defiled. 
And gently laid him in the earth. 

They wondered that he smiled. 



77 



TOMMY AND FRITZ 

He hides behind his sand-bag, 

And I stand back o' mine ; 
And sometimes he bellows, " Hullo, John 
Bull ! " 
And I hollers, " German swine ! " 
And sometimes we both lose our bloomin' 
rag. 
And blaze all along the line. 

Sometimes he whistles his 'Ymn of 'Ate, 

Or opens his mug to sing, 
And when he gives us " Die Wacht am 
Rhein " 

I give 'im " God Save the King " ; 
And then — we " get up the wind " again, 

And the bullets begin to ping — 
(If we're in luck our machine gun nips 

A working squad on the wing.) 



78 



TOMMY AND FRITZ 79 

Sometimes he shouts, " Tommy, come 
over ! " 
And we fellers bawl out, " Fritz, 
If yer wants a good warm breakfast. 
Walk up and we'll give you fits ! " 
And sometimes our great guns begin to 

growl, 
* And blows his front line to bits. 

And when our shrapnel has tore his wire. 
And his parapet shows a rent, 

We over and pays him a friendly call 
With a bayonet — but no harm meant. 

And he — well, when he's resuscitate, 
He returns us the compUment ! 

I stand behind my sand-bag. 

And he hides back o' his'en ; 
And, but for our bloomin' uniforms, 

We might both be convicts in pris'n ; 
And sometimes I loves him a little bit — 

And sometimes I 'ate Uke p'ison. 



8o BALLADS OF BATTLE 

For sometimes I mutters " Belgium," 

Or " Lusitani — a," 
And I slackens my bay'net in its sheath, 

And stiffens my lower jaw, 
And " An eye for an eye ; a tooth for a 
tooth," 

Is all I know of the Law. 

But sometimes when things is quiet, 
And the old kindly stars come out, 
I stand up behind my sand-bag, 

And think, " What's it all about ? " 
And — tho' I'm a damned sight better nor 
him, 
Yet sometimes I have a doubt, 
That if you got under his hide you would 

see 
A bloke with a heart just the same's you 
and me ! 



THE BROKEN HEART 

I FOUND a silver sixpence, 
A sixpence, a sixpence, 
I found a silver sixpence, 

And I brake it in twa ; 
I gied it till a sodger, 
A sodger, a sodger, 
I gied it till a sodger. 

Before he gaed awa'. 

I have a heart that's broken. 
That's broken, that's broken ; 
I bear a heart that's broken, 

That's broken in twa — 
For I gied it till a sodger, 
A sodger, a sodger, 
I gied it till a sodger. 

Before he gaed awa' ! 



8i 



BIG GUNS 

Big guns baying, 

Baying thro' the night, 
What are ye saying 

Of the fight ? 
Who are ye slaying ? 

Big guns booming, 

Booming thro' the night. 
Who are ye dooming 

To endless glooming. 
In each fell flight ? 

Great guns growling, 
Growling till the day. 

Like wild winds howling ; 
Like wild beasts prowling- 

What is thy prey ? 

82 



BIG GUNS 



83 



Big guns baying, 

Baying thro' the night, 
What are ye saying 

Of the fight ?— 
Who are ye slaying ? 




SUBIDAR MAJOR JOCUNDAR SINGH 
69th PUNJABIS 



PIOU-PIOU 

The British Tommy Atkins to the French. 

Your trousies is a funny red, 
Your tunic is a funny blue, 

Your cap sets curious on your 'ead — 
And yet, by Gawd, your 'eart sits true, 
Piou-piou ! 

Your menu's even worse nor mine. 

Your pay a day is but a sou ; 
But still, you blokes have broke the 
line — 
I'm proud to fight along o' you, 
Piou-piou ! 

Your lingo I do not compr-ee — 

A necessary word or two — 
But, " deux bier's " enough for me. 

And here's the best o' health to you, 
Piou-piou ! 



84 




PIOU-PIOU 



MARCHING 

Marching, marching, 

On the old-time track ; 

Soldier song upon my lip. 

Haversack upon my hip, 

Pack upon my back ; 

Linton on my left hand, 

On my right side Jack — 

Marching, marching. 

Steel swung at my thigh. 

Marching, marching, 

Who so gay as I ? 

(Left, left !) 

Marching, marching, 

On the same old track ; 

Sorrow gnawing at my heart. 

Mem'ry piercing like a dart, 

Care perched on my back ; 

Linton on my left hand — 

But, alas ! poor Jack ! 

Marching, marching, 

Quietly does he lie, 

Marching, marching. 

Who so sad as I ? 

(Left, Mi— LEFT/) 
86 



;^*-"* 



■2f^.,^^'',^^'^ 






^-^^^^^^-.^ ' 




HOLLOW TREE BIVOUAC 



PICK AND SPADE 

The Plaint of Tommy — aching. 

Out here we call a spade a spade, and a shovel a 
shovel — with embellishment ! 

Pick and spade, 

Pick and spade, 
Five hundred miles o' trench we've made, 
Five hundred thousand sandbags laid 

Wi' pick and spade. 

Pick and spade 

Pick and spade. 
My apron's tore, and my kilt is frayed. 
And the hide off my homy hands is 

flayed — 
I wish to Gawd on the farm I'd stayed 

Wi' pick and spade. 

Pick and spade, 

Pick and spade ; 

What made the stoutest heart afraid ? — 

When the S.M. shoved in his head and 

said : 

88 



PICK AND SPADE 89 

*' The whole of the fourteenth platoon 
will parade 
Wi' pick and spade ! " 

Pick and spade. 

Pick and spade, 
Every man jack of us all of a trade ; 
" Fall in the blokes o' the Navvy's 
Brigade, 

Wi' pick and spade ! " 

Pick and spade. 
Pick and spade, 
Thingumabob 90° in the shade ; 
On thro' the mud and the muck we 

wade — 
A dead man's skull — and I've broken the 
blade 

O' my bluidy old spade ! 

Pick and spade, 
Pick and spade ; 
This is the way that the War Game's 

played — 
Bill's got hit i' the leg and is off to First 
Aid— 



90 BALLADS OF BATTLE 

"I wish to 'Eaven 't had been me!" I 
prayed : 
" Damn this pick and spade ! " 

Pick and spade, 
Pick and spade, 
I wish to Gawd that the blokes wi' red 

braid 
Round their caps, for only a spell could 
be made 
To parade 

For a trick o' our trade 
Wi' the pick and spade ! 



SHEATH NOT THE SWORD 

" Peace, peace, when there is no peace." 

Sheath not the Sword ere yet the strife 

is ended ; 
Prate not of peace before proud wills 

are bended — 

Sheath not the Sword ! 

Sheath not the Sword ! What of thy 

vaHant dead ? 
'Twas not for this their rich hearts' blood 

was shed — 

Sheath not the Sword ! 

Sheath not the Sword ! Thousands our 

kinsmen stand 
Waiting the issue in that Shadow land — 
Sheath not the Sword ! 



91 



92 BALLADS OF BATTLE 

Sheath not the Sword ! Thousands thy 

kinsmen wait 
To enter at thy need stern Death's dark 

gate- 
Sheath not the Sword ! 

Harden thy heart ! Stay not the slaying 

hand, 
Till each, erect, stand in his cleansed land — 
Sheath not the Sword ! 

Harden thy heart ! Withhold the pitying 

ear. 
Until their Hymn of Hate turn to a cry of 

fear ! — 

Sheath not the Sword ! 



CARRYING-PARTY 

Time 10.30 p.m. Place, Communication Trenches. 

WiKE over'ead ! 
Mud underfoot : 

Gawd, I'm into a hole, 
Pullin' the sole 
Right off' en me boot — 
I wish I was dead ! 

Wire over'ead — 
(My load weighs like lead) 
The night's black as 'ell ; 
I'm into a ditch — 
Ye son of a bitch ! 
'Twas here Nelson fell — 
Bang ! There goes a shell — 
1 wish I was dead ! 



93 



94 BALLADS OF BATTLE 

Wire over'ead ! — 

Look out for the bridge ! 
Hear ole Sergeant grunt, 
" Halt ! you there in front ! 
They've lost touch at the ridge " — 
I wish / was dead ! 

Wire over'ead ! 
Wire underfoot ! — 

There's Tim come to grief — 
Christ ! — he's dumping the beef. 
Pull 'im out by the root : 
I wish I was dead — 
(To home blokes are in bed) — 
Wish Ga wd I was dead ! 

{Stumbles and grumbles on.) 



SONG OF TRUE LOVERS 

When we two parted. 

It was a weeping rain ; 
The sun shall shine upon the day 

That we two meet again. 

When we two severed, 

The stream was drowned in mist ; 
Upon that eve, with moonlight 

Its waters will be kiss'd. 

When we two parted. 

It was an eerie wind ; 
When I shall set my sail for home 

The breezes will be kind. 

When we two parted, 

The trees stood gaunt and bare ; 
They will be bourgeoning with Spring 

When next we wander there. 



95 



96 BALLADS OF BATTLE 

When we two parted, 
The year was at its close ; 

Some day, some day, the desert 
Shall blossom as the rose. 

When we two parted. 
The days were full of pain ; 

When next we meet, we meet, indeed, 
Never to part again, 
Dear love, 
Never to part again. 



\ 



I8I5-I9I5 

ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO TO-DAY 

TO MY GRANDFATHER 
WHO FOUGHT AT WATERLOO 

Affectionately Dedicated to 
my Foitr Paternal Aunts. 

Once more the unsheathed sword, once 

more the speeding shell ; 
Once more unleashing of the Hounds of 

Hell ; 
The Nations rage together, and again 
The Kings are joined for battle on the 

plain ; 
Old Europe armed goes forth to smite 

and slay. 
Just as a Hundred Years to-day ! 

97 



98 BALLADS OF BATTLE 

Grandsire, whom I have never seen, nor 

held whose hand, 
Nor heard whose voice — stentorian in 

command — 
From some Valhalla of the British dead 
Perchance thou watchest where our lines 

are spread : 
Strengthen my hand ; thy kinsman's 

heart inspire 
With some spark of thy ancient martial 

fire — 
May my steel be as keen, I pray, 
As yours, a Hundred Years to-day ! 

Oft as a boy I strove to swing thy blade 
From out the scabbard where it long had 

laid. 
And fearful felt its edge — the notch, 

'twas said. 
Was compliment from a dead Chasseur's 

head — 
And all day waged the mimic fight, 
Waiting for Blucher — and nurse ! — and 

night : 



1815-1915 99 

Thank God ! and I see the children play 
As I did — was it Yesterday ? 

I hear your guns growl on through Spain, 
And then, I hear them once again 
Take up the old terrific tune 
Upon that far-off Eighteenth June — 
Mine ears have learned the measure well 
At Festubert and Neuve Chapelle — 
Our friends, forth with us in this fray. 
Were foes a Hundred Years to-day ! 

When you rode through this war-racked 

land 
Didst ever, prithee, kiss a hand 
To Jeanne, Yvonne, Marcelle, Marie — 
Grand-dames of those wave hands to me ? 
Were girls as sportive and as gay ? — 
Didst have the heart to say them Nay ? — 
Was't easy parting with thy pay 
A Hundred Years Ago to-day ? 



100 BALLADS OF BATTLE 

Grandsire, whose good right hand is long 

since dust, 
I hold the same true steel in sacred trust ; 
From some Valhalla of the British dead 
Perchance thou watchest where our lines 

are spread ; 
Thou knewest whence should come the 

power 
When dark the battle-clouds did lower — 
May thy God be my shield and stay 
As thine a Hundred Years to-day ! 

Flanders, iWiJune, 1915. 



REQUIEM 

When the last voyage is ended, 

And the last sail is furled, 
When the last blast is weathered, 
And the last bolt is hurled. 

And there comes no more the sound 

of the old ship bell — 
Sailor, sleep well ! 

When the Last Post is blown. 

And the last volley fired. 

When the last sod is thrown. 

And the last Foe retired. 

And thy last bivouac is made under 

the ground — 
Soldier, sleep sound ! 




•' Somewhere in France." 



SLioi^ 



PMR